Feeds:
Posts
Comments

I’ve been remiss.  Sorry about that!  Sometimes life interferes with life.  That’s a silly statement, but occasionally so very true!

I’ve had a few thoughts about this blog entry, but then have not carried through on any of them.  One of the things standing in the way of my getting a new entry done is that my husband has been a bit “under the weather” lately.  Then we had company from the East Coast.  It was family, so we revelled in their presence!IMG_8521

One of my husbands complaints is that his mouth is so dry.  I tried all the usual techniques for getting some moisture into the air in our apartment.  Boiled some water; didn’t use the fan to get rid of the moisture in the bathroom after a shower; a good one is to open the dishwasher as it finishes to allow all that hot moist steam to flood the kitchen; be sure the window was open (at least a little bit) at night to pull in some moisture from our damp Seattle atmosphere; I think perhaps drying socks on the shower rack would also add some humidity without taking up a huge amount of space!

But, there HAVE to be other techniques that wouldn’t require the purchase of a humidifier, which I would like to avoid. (Of course, I also set a big glass of cold water in front of him, and suggest he drink that as an instant cure!)

A year or so ago I got a humidity gauge as a gift from one of my sons.  It has been a good thing to keep an eye on.  And yes, in the mornings this apartment IS dry. So what else to do?IMG_8519

I’m sure you all know where I’m going with this…PLANTS!  They are GREAT humidifiers! They “transpire”.  What that means is that they take water from the soil, into their roots, send it up to the leaves, and out it goes into the atmosphere again. Here’s one article about that. Increasing Humidity in Buildings

Let’s look at a few other interesting articles about humidifying our indoor environment..

Here are a few good idea’s from, of all places, Angie’s List!

It is also said that stove top cooking is a good idea!IMG_8522

And of course, more about the use of PLANTS!

 

Advertisements

Yes!  They do  join us at our meal-times!

Here at Horizon House our Garden Committee was granted money to purchase Hummingbird Feeders to place outside the Main Dining Room windows for our enjoyment all winter long.  Anna’s Hummingbirds stay with us all winter…the annual flowers in our planters do not.  So, instead of the flowers, during the winter, we now can  enjoy the Hummers!!!

We have two feeders hanging.  One on the west side of the dining room (mine), and one on the north side (Carol O.’s).  They were placed carefully.  We thought of placing them where most diners could actually SEE the feeders.  The other reason was that the feeders are out of sight of each other.  As many of us know, hummers are very territorial, as well as aggressive!  So, it’s kind of an “out of sight, out of mind” approach.  If you sit close enough to watch them, you will occasionally see them chasing each other around.  Then one of them will calmly sit on a close branch to begin his “watch” again.  They do NOT share at all well!!!

IMG_8485

Annemarie’s photo

 

This little guy is calmly waiting for the next “invader” to approach “HIS” feeder!  I took this picture when the snow was barreling down.

This same day, the staff saw the feeders all frozen over from the night before, and (bless them) they went out and removed the feeders and “unfroze them.  Unfortunately, they were not aware that the feeders are filled with a solution of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, and instead filled them with plain water.  (A good technique is to remove the feeders in the evening, take them inside, and then re-hang them in the morning.)

The reason that it is not a good idea to use plain water, is that these are very tiny, little birds, only weighing a little more than a penny. Their tummies are pretty small, so when they don’t get any sustenance, it is hard for them to satisfy their caloric needs…which are ample.  When you watch them fly, you can just imagine how much energy they expend.

unnamed-2

One of Joel’s photos

Remember, ANY time you see a problem with these two feeders, you can give me, (or Carol O.) a call and one of us will be happy to deal with the issue.  The staff at the dining room also have my number.

Let’s talk a little about these fascinating birds who share our space.

Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 7.06.53 AM

From the internet

First, know that the hummers who stay all winter long, here in Seattle are “Anna’s Hummingbirds“.  (It’s nice that they named them after my grand-daughter! Just kidding!) Do visit the link to hear them and see those grand colors in motion.

You CAN tell the difference between males and females if you are VERY observant.   Check the link to a site that gives you lots more information.

unnamed-1

Joel’s photo-outside our window

If you have your own little “balcony” and are curious about how to feed them properly, here’s a link that will tell you everything you need to know!

I don’t have a lot of photos, since they move a bit too fast for my little camera.  My husband is giving me a few as well, and there’s also the internet!

 

After learning a bit about when and how these guys bloom, I figured I’d better learn a few other things about them!  Here’s my Christmas Cactus right now.  I’m tickled with it, and hope to have this kind of a display EVERY year!img_8444First of all, I’d better learn what it’s real name is!  It is formally known as Schlumbergera.  Depending on WHICH of the Holiday Cactus(Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter) you get, they will have different descriptive names.  But the  “Schlumbergera” will probably always be there.

As it my plant ages, I am assuming it will get larger and more prolific with blooms.

So, how do I accomplish that?  I DO know that they like to be root-bound.  Which means less worries about re-potting.  That’s good, right?

I also know they like to be kind of dry. That’s also great.  Talk about an easy plant to deal with…except for light and temperature, which are BIGGIES!

Here are a few suggestions, and a few links to places where you can read a bit more than I’ll give you.

  • As you know, the flowers appear at the very ends of the stem.  When the flowers are done and shriveled, you can just snip them off, either by pinching them carefully, or using a sharp pruning shears.  When ALL the blooms are gone…ignore the plant!  Little water, no fertilizer, “no nothing” for about a month. Then, during the winter start giving it an occasional “spritz”, gradually begin to treat it like a normal plant until springtime, when you’ll see new growth appear.
  • If you want your plant to be fuller, you can prune it back. Where you cut, you will get two new stems, so go back toward the pot, and watch what happens. Remember when you prune to use SHARP and CLEAN shears, and cut BETWEEN the segments. The best time to do this is in the spring, just as the new growth is beginning.
  • Guide to Holiday Cactus
  • screen shot 2019-01-23 at 2.48.09 pm
  • It is a myth that these cacti should be in direct sunshine.  DO NOT DO THAT. A light exposure to sunshine will be exactly what it needs! These are what’s called “Forest Cacti” so don’t know what to do with direct sun!
  • Never let them get waterlogged!  A drainage hole is an absolute necessity.
  • Once they begin blooming, try not to move them around too much.  This can sometimes cause the buds to drop.  Remember this if you buy a blooming cactus from the grocery store.  Chances are it’s been moved around A LOT!
  • If your home is extra dry, they will love a bit of misting.
  • From everything I’ve read, they are NOT toxic to pets.
  • The Bloom Cycle for A Christmas Cactus-A Simple chart!  

For the last 7 years or so, my Christmas Cactus have not bloomed, except when I had just purchased them…or when I first arrived from New Hampshire.  I was disappointed.

Those of you that know me, know that I’m not really an “indoor” plant kind of person…although I’m learning to be one here in Seattle, which is VERY different from New England.

So, what’s with the Christmas Cactus?  They put out lots of green growth.  I water them according to their needs…not too much!  They look pretty, all green and shiny, but around Christmas?  No flowers!

This year however, I did a few things differently, and I think “I’ve GOT it”!  As Chair of the Garden Committee (which I just gave up) I saw to it that a rack was put outside on one of the terraces for indoor plants, to be used by anyone in Horizon House who felt their plants would benefit from a summer outside.  I took advantage of that as well.  OUT went my Christmas Cacti!

I have to say that in both Connecticut and New Hampshire, I always put my indoor plants out under a tree for the summer.  (Are you paying attention?)  When we moved here, I didn’t have a spot to park them.  If I put them in my little garden plot, the snails would have eaten them alive! So, they stayed on my window sill, inside.  I didn’t have any closet, basement or garage to put them in for an “unlit”, “cooling” period.  ALL the lighting needs were ignored.  The other thing that was ignored was the temperature.  They had to be either inside or outside, and a rack was not available for me.  So, the plants looked healthy enough, but NO FLOWERS!

Enter the rack this past year.  I got it out in June, and removed it in Mid-October.  My Christmas Cactus loved it!  The temperature was correct, as was the light.  However, they still were not chilled enough to set buds.  Next year, I will request that the rack be left out until we’ve actually had a frost…perhaps sometime in November.

Then miraculously, an opportunity appeared.  We have a non-functioning air-conditioner in our bedroom window.  We finally had it covered…with a wooden box-like structure…A SHELF!  We turn the heat down at night and open the window by the air-conditioner.  When I put the plants on that air-conditioner shelf the cacti rejoiced and set buds!!!!

Yesterday, I felt I had waited long enough, and I brought the two cactus’ that had set buds, out to the living room window sill.  There’s another one on the “cold shelf”, but it is an Easter Cactus, and I can’t expect it to flower for a few more months.  It will remain there until it set’s buds, for SURE!

At any rate, when they tell you that Christmas Cactus (and Easter Cactus) need a cold and dark period in order to bloom, BELIEVE THEM!

I continue to learn.  Gardening inside sure is different!

A dream???  I think I fell asleep sometime in the beginning of November, and just woke up!  Sorry I’ve been gone so long.  It isn’t for lack of wanting to, I just didn’t make the time.  Now that my birthday is done and Christmas looms, it’s time to get my act together and see if there’s something I should be doing about the garden.

Perhaps I could talk about stepping away from being the Chair of the Garden Committee after 6 years.  It’s time for an injection of new ideas and energy.  What are some of the things I accomplished, and am proud of…and perhaps a few I’d just as soon forget?

  • I brought the gardens through the major rebuilding of the West Wing.  It impacted all of our gardens in one way or another.
    • The Secret Garden was relatively unscathed…lucky them!
    • Level C & D however, were closed down for a year and a half, with construction materials stacked or built on them.IMG_3637
    • We were not allowed to go out there…so the gardens languished, and the gardeners wept!
  • I applied for, and won, a GEM Grant for the gardeners after the construction was over, so they each were given a comfortable sum of money to purchase new plant material, and also provided the transportation to get to and from the plant nursery. We went in the spring and again in the fall.  IMG_3890It produced many smiles…and beautiful gardens!
  • Following that, we needed to get people back into the gardens to show them off, and remind Horizon House, that we did indeed, have beautiful gardens.  To accomplish this, I began “June In Our Gardens”.  Every day of June had some garden related activity.  It worked! IMG_6659 Residents came to lectures, parties, walks, tours and even cooking (with our herbs-available for all residents) and lessons on how to use our new grills!
  • We continued the “June In Our Gardens”, and it is becoming an annual affair. IMG_7687 I will continue to chair that sub-committee, until either I tire of it, or they have had enough of me!!!
  • Another GEM grant was generated to get a Birdbath for each level garden, and Hummingbird Feeders to hang outside the Dining Room windows for our residents to enjoy in the winter, when the “blooming planters” have been removed.Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 7.06.53 AM
  • We did a little “re-naming”!  The Level E Garden is now “The Secret Garden”.  That name is much more appropriate, as no one can ever find it!  Also, the garden storage area is now called “The Garden Shed”, and the new sub-committee has done a great job of cleaning it up, and keeping it that way!

I’m sure there are more…but we’ll stop here.  It’s been a great bunch of years.  I’ve loved chairing this committee.  Gardeners are fun and understanding, to say nothing of hardworking.  Thank you all for letting me stand at your helm.  It has been an honor.

IMG_8286

It’s a question I often hear, and often answer as simply as I can, usually after asking a few questions.

  1. Is it an orchid that has just decided it doesn’t want to bloom in the next year or two???  (and you don’t care to wait!)
  2. Whatever kind of plant it is, is there anyone you know who might want to adopt your plant?
  3. Is the plant diseased or buggy?
  4. Are you willing to WORK on it, or are you DONE with it?

After we talk about those possibilities, we then go on to a possible solution.

#1-There are a few people here at Horizon House who will “adopt” spent orchids and bring them back to flower. What they do with them at that point is unknown!

#2-Would a neighbor, or family member like to have it?

#3-If it is diseased or buggy, it should go “down the shoot” into the garbage.  Put it in a plastic (or paper) bag and into the garbage.  It is neither recyclable, NOR compostable.

#4-If it’s just beyond your interest or appears to be dying a natural death, or you can’t find an adoptive “parent” for it, here’s what you can do.

If the plant is small, and in fairly good condition, put it on the shelf in the Service Room.  Perhaps someone on your floor will take a liking to it.  OR maybe the person who empties the trash may know someone who would like it.

If no one takes it…or it’s beyond help…

Allow the plant to dry out.  Take a large, PAPER grocery bag, dump the plant (with it’s soil) into the bag WITHOUT the pot.  Close up the bag and put it (carefully sealed) in the compost container in the Service Room on your floor.  If it is too large for that, bring it to the Potting Room on B-2 and put the bag into the compost container there.

Just so you know, this is perfect compost!  It is living (or having once been alive) material.  compost-handSoil is exactly what compost will become, and is a needed part of the composting process.

The pot remaining, if you don’t have a use for it, can be washed out, and put into the recycling bin.  If it’s a pretty one, consider Monday Market!

IMG_8282

I hope this answers your questions.  Happy Gardening, inside or outside!!!

Yesterday the Garden Committee sponsored a trip to Swanson’s, a local Plant Nursery.  My garden is full and my window sills are groaning with indoor plants, however, I was not lost for what to do as I prowled the aisles at Swanson’s.

I was looking for some Hummingbird Feeders to put outside the Dining Room windows here at Horizon House.

We have just removed the flowering planters that were such a colorful delight all summer long.  We needed something that might provide some enjoyment for our diners.  Why not a Hummingbird Feeder or two?Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 7.06.53 AM

We decided on two.  One on each side of the dining room.  Hummers are pretty territorial, so we wanted to be sure they could all eat in peace…so one per side!

I am sure the Garden Committee will get some comments soon!  I don’t think the feeders have been “discovered” yet.  I noticed when we went for dinner last evening, that I should readjust the placement of one of them, so it’s a bit more visible to all the diners.

The Garden Committee decided rather than have gardeners “take turns” tending the feeders, that perhaps having them be “adopted” might work better.  Already one of them has been adopted by Carol O.  I think I will adopt the other one, since I’m about to give up my chairmanship of the Garden Committee.  I’ll be looking for some “fun” endeavor to accomplish instead!  The feeders will hang until it’s time for the flowering baskets to re-appear in the spring. IMG_8277 At that point they will be removed allowing the flowering planters to provide nectar for our hummers.  We’ll hold off on the feeding until the planters come down again!

Here in the Pacific Northwest, Anna’s Hummingbirds remain all winter.  There are few blossoms for them as the weather cools down, so feeding them should encourage them to stick around OUR dining room!  Wish us luck!

Joke for today

A NEW JOKE EVERY DAY

Liam's Travels

Not all those who wander are lost

The Sharing Gardens

A Master Gardener from Northern New England moves to the Pacific Northwest. Here are accumulated gardening experiences encountered along the way.

Hot Saucers Ultimate

Hamilton College's Ultimate Frisbee Team

This Veggie Life

A Vegetarian | Nature Lifestyle Blog

A Transplanted Gardener

A Master Gardener from Northern New England moves to the Pacific Northwest. Here are accumulated gardening experiences encountered along the way.

Karen Whalen

A Writer Sharing Her One in a Million Journey with Adrenal Cancer

Camp Merrowvista

The official blog of Merrowvista summer camp

G Chek Flys!

My Photography and Aviation Interests

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

Wausau News

Health and Freedom News

Lyons Bonsai

A Novice Bonsai journey in Ireland

A Bridge to the Garden

Seminars for Gardeners about Gardening